How to Work the Tunisian Bump Stitch


Spring has (maybe, hopefully) sprung around here, which means I'm abandoning heavy winter wear and incorporating lots of layers into my wardrobe. In Colorado, spring temperatures can range from 30 to 80 degrees, so you have to be ready for anything! The Keyes Shawl by Joyce Lewis, featured in our Winter 2015 issue, is a fantastic layering piece. It's light but substantial enough to keep you warm on chilling mornings (and evenings), and it's easy to dress up or down. It uses the Tunisian bump stitch, which gives the shawl a wonderful texture and drape. If you've never done this stitch, don't let that scare you off this project! Here to explain the stitch and technique is designer Joyce Lewis.

The Tunisian Bump Stitch Tutorial

Introducing the easiest, thinnest, drapiest Tunisian stitch ever: the Tunisian bump stitch (tbs)!

Tunisian crochet is usually worked on a long hook several sizes larger than that recommended for the yarn. To work the stitch, you pick up loops on the forward pass and work them off again on the return pass. The most commonly used stitch, the Tunisian simple stitch (tss), is worked by inserting the hook under the front horizontal loop of each stitch, and because it's essentially a post stitch, the fabric curls forward and tends to be rather thick.

Bump stitch fabric is flat and thin because the stitch is worked into the back bump of the chain formed during the return pass. Each stitch sits right on top of the stitch in the previous row or round, so there is no surface tension pulling the face of the fabric up, and each stitch is loose enough to move just enough to create a gorgeous, drape-y fabric.

And here's another great thing about the bump stitch: If you've ever done a Tunisian setup row, you already know how to do the tbs! Let's dive into a more detailed explanation of the Tunisian bump stitch.



TBS starts out just like any other Tunisian stitch: Make a chain of the desired length, then insert the hook in the back bump of the second stitch from the hook, yarn over and pull up a loop. 


Continue pulling up loops in each stitch across. At the end of the row, make one chain stitch (yarn over and pull through one loop on hook), then [yarn over and pull through two loops on hook]. Repeat the steps in brackets until only one loop remains on the hook.



While you're working the return pass, notice that what you are really making is a chain that is woven through the vertical stitches. You can see the bumps sitting right along the top of the row.  




The very first bump is hiding behind the working strand of yarn. Insert the hook under that bump, yarn over and pull up a loop. 




Pull up a loop in each stitch across until you reach the last stitch.

Skip the last bump and insert your hook under the two vertical loops on the edge, yarn over and pull up a loop.

Unless otherwise instructed, work the standard Return Pass: Ch 1, [yo and pull through two loops on hook] across, until only 1 loop remains. 





And that's really all there is to it!

End with a row of slip stitches, worked into the back bump, to give your fabric a finished look and prevent too much stretching.

Once you get the hang of this stitch, there are a couple of variations you can try.

To add a bit of texture to your fabric, try the purl or reverse version of the bump stitch. With the yarn in front of the hook, insert the hook under the back bump of the next stitch from back to front, yarn over and pull up a loop. Notice the horizontal loop crossing the base of the stitch.

This photo shows reverse TBS in the upper section and standard TBS in the lower section.

Another variation is the double crochet bump stitch (dc-tbs), which forms a more open mesh. To create this stitch, ch 1 to start a new row, [yarn over, insert hook under the next back bump, yarn over and pull up a loop, yarn over and pull through two loops on hook] across, leaving one new loop for each stitch added.


As you can see, this stitch is easier to work than you might think. Create your own Keyes Shawl layering piece and keep yourself comfortable–and stylish–this spring!

Happy crocheting!


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